Factors associated with substance abuse among male illicit drug users in rehabilitation centres of Pakistan.

  • Naveed Mansoori
  • Syed Muhammad Mubeen
  • Syed Maqsood Mohiuddin
  • Shahid Ahsan
Keywords: Addiction; Substance abuse; heroin; Pakistan; drug addiction; heroin addiction


Background: Substance abuse is one of the most challenging public health problem.  Recent trends indicated that it has increased dramatically in developing countries.  The present study explored the factors associated with substance dependence among male drug addicts in rehabilitation centres of Pakistan.  Methods: This cross-sectional, multi-centred, comparative study was conducted in 2014 at 12 rehabilitation centres in four major cities of Pakistan.  A total of 460 patients seeking treatment for substance dependence were included.  A questionnaire was used after taking verbal informed consent. The study was approved by the institutional ethical committee.  Data entered and analysed by SPSS version 20.  Socio-demographic variables were presented in frequencies and percentages.  Results: The majority 344(74.8%) of drug abusers in the present study were between 21 to 30 years of age and the frequency of literate and non-skilled was 321(69.8%) and 288(62.6%) respectively. Parents of most of drug addicts were illiterate (father 56.3 %; mother 85%).  Heroine was most commonly used drug (38.8%) followed by cannabis (11.5%), opium (7%) and alcohol (3.9%).  Drugs were taken by smoking (40.4%) while sniffing (17.6%), eating (4.8%) and injection (4.3%) were other routes used.  Sixty-one percent started using drugs between 20-30 years of age.  Addicted close friends were found in 87.8% cases.   Conclusion: Substance abuse was observed in all demographic strata and segments in Pakistani population.  A significant association of heroin addiction was found with age ≤ 19 years, and duration of its use.